in the arsehole of diogenes

NEO-HERACLITUS_____________Qweir Notions in the arsehole of Diogenes: weBlog of a septuagenarian Binge-thinker since February 2008.
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Friday, 24 October 2014

If the human mind has evolved

(as we think it has)
according to the imperatives of survival,
what reason is there for thinking that it can acquire knowledge of 'reality',
when all that is required in order to reproduce and multiply our species
is that our errors and illusions are not fatal ?

(I read this somewhere recently, but can't remember where.)

In other words, how can we know that what we see and think we understand
is not a grand illusion ? 

Moreover, within this grandly-human illusion of understanding,
it seems that the more we know - the more information that we amass -
the less we can rationalise, much less control our actions as a species.

1 comment:

Srikant said...

Perhaps here?

http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2014/10/closed-mind-richard-dawkins

An extract: But in that case there is a tension between naturalism (the study of humans and other animals as organisms in the natural world) and the rationalist belief that the human mind can rid itself of error and illusion through a process of critical reasoning. To be sure, Dawkins and those who think like him will object that evolutionary theory tells us how we got where we are, but does not preclude our taking charge of ourselves from here on. But who are “we”? In a passage from The Selfish Gene that Dawkins quotes in this memoir, he writes:

They are in you and me; they created us, body and mind; and their preservation is the ultimate rationale for our existence. They have come a long way, these replicators. Now they come by the name of genes, and we are their survival machines.

If we “are” survival machines, it is unclear how “we” can decide anything. The idea of free will, after all, comes from religion and not from science. Science may give us the unvarnished truth—or some of it—about our species. Part of that truth may prove to be that humans are not and can never be rational animals. Religion may be an illusion, but that does not mean science can dispel it. On the contrary, science may well show that religion cannot be eradicated from the human mind. Unsurprisingly, this is a possibility that Dawkins never explores.

For all his fervent enthusiasm for science, Dawkins shows very little interest in asking what scientific knowledge is or how it comes to be possible.